Kohelet

This Shabbat we read the book of Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon. This time of year was the most prosperous for Jewish farmers. There is always a tendency for people to become complacent when they are prosperous. The rabbis were very much aware aware of this phenomenon and instituted the reading of this book on Shabbat Chol Hamoed. There was great controversy as to whether Kohelet should be considered worthy to be one of the books of Tanach. Many saw it as a very negative, pessimistic book. Shlomo repeatedly talks about how all is vanity. He claims to have tried every endeavor "under the sun," and everything was futility. The conclusion of the rabbis was that the ending of Kohelet made it all worthwhile. "Fear G-d and keep the commandments for this is all there is to man." If we walk away from this Chag strengthened in our יראת שמים, fear of Heaven, we have a clear sign that we have been elevated spiritually.